Football was quite popular in Spain, Italy and Germany when fascists came to power in each of these countries during the 1920s and 1930s. However, at the time football was still very much identified as an English game, since the rules for the game had been formalized in 19th century England, and the first organized sporting teams and associations originated there. Although fascists idealized the sport for its contribution to physical fitness, they wished to distance themselves from its English roots. In Italy, there was an attempt to elevate Volata above the Anglophone sports of football and rugby union. This game was created by the national secretary of the Fascist Party, Augusto Turati, supposedly based on a form of football played in classical times, such as harpastum, and therefore indigenous to Italy. Starting in the late 1920s over 100 Volata clubs were formed into a league.
Although enjoying some initial popularity thanks to the steadfast support of Fascist sporting and cultural organizations, volata never caught on in football-mad Italy and in 1933 the effort was officially abandoned, and all references to it expunged from party records. In the end, the invention of the game proved more damaging to rugby union's popularity and place in Italian sporting culture. Indeed, the enduring popularity of football caused Mussolini to completely change his attitude toward football and Italy hosted the 1934 World Cup, which was won by the hosts.